Cathy McGowan must stand up to Turnbull's cuts to rural schools

The Australian Education Union says rural schools in North-East Victoria are desperate for additional resources after the Turnbull government cut regional schools funding.

The Australian Education Union’s submission to the Independent Review into Rural, Regional and Remote Education shows schools in regional Victoria need additional resources if they are to meet the needs of their students.

“The Turnbull government has cut funding to rural and regional schools that are already struggling. Students will miss out on the individual learning support they need and risk falling further behind than the two-year gap that already exists.

“The Turnbull government has capped its funding to public schools to 20 percent of the School Resourcing Standard, while delivering 80 percent to private schools. Rural and regional schools that are already disadvantaged will be the hardest hit. Turnbull’s plan means many public schools will not reach the School Resourcing Standard, while many already wealthy private schools will exceed this standard.

“Teachers and principals in the North-East have told us about high excursion costs, difficulties in attracting and retaining staff, higher costs of accessing professional development for staff, difficulties in accessing professional services for support, and technology access as major barriers to their students’ education. Distance makes costs higher and puts a strain on school budgets.

“Children with additional learning needs and disabilities are especially affected, and many educators noted access to the appropriate resources was both expensive and insufficient to meet growing needs.

“Teachers in regional areas also find it harder to access learning and networking opportunities used to enrich students’ education. They travel hours to Melbourne, sometimes having to stay overnight and pay for accommodation to access the same professional development opportunities as their colleagues in the city.

“We are calling on local members to stand up to Malcolm Turnbull and fight for school funding for their regions. Independent MP for Indi, Cathy McGowan needs to take this fight to Canberra. Schools in her electorate are worse off under this new Turnbull funding plan.

“Seventy percent of students in country areas go to public schools. These children and their teachers do not have equal access to the same support and opportunities as their city counterparts. 

“We are sending a strong message to Cathy McGowan that she needs to fight for education funding so children in Wangaratta, Wodonga and Benalla and surrounding areas are given the opportunity to thrive,” said Meredith Peace.

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